· Kansas State concludes its four-game homestand to start the 2013-14 season on Sunday, as the Wildcats play host to reigning Big West champion Long Beach State (1-2) at 3:10 p.m. CT at Bramlage Coliseum.
· Sunday’s contest is technically apart of next week’s Puerto Rico Tip-Off in San Juan, as both squads will participate in the tournament. The teams could meet again on the final day, as they are on the opposite ends of the bracket. K-State opens with Charlotte and LBSU plays Michigan Nov. 21.
· K-State is coming off a 71-63 victory over Oral Roberts on Wednesday, the squad’s first win after a 60-58 loss to Northern Colorado in the opener. It was the school’s first season-opening loss since 2003 (snapping a 10-game streak) and its first in a home opener since a 74-60 loss to Southern Miss on Nov. 27, 1993 (stopping a 19-game winning streak).
· K-State started slow vs. Oral Roberts, hitting just 1-of-9 from the field and falling behind 16-4 after nine minutes. Sparked by freshman Marcus Foster’s own 10-0 run, the Wildcats were able to recover and take their first lead by the 7:21 mark en route to a 30-27 edge at halftime. The team was able to push the lead to as many as 12 points in the second half.
· After the poor offensive start, K-State recovered to connect on 50 percent (23-of-46) of its field goals vs. ORU, including 57.1 percent (12-of-21) in the second half. It marked the first time that the team shot 50 percent or better from the field since connecting on 54.4 percent vs. TCU on March 5, 2013. The Wildcats also knocked down 45.5 percent (5-of-11) from 3-point range and 66.7 percent (20-of-30) from the free throw line.
· The improved shooting was a positive sign for K-State after connecting on 33.9 percent (21-of-52) in the opener vs. UNC, including 10.5 percent from 3-point range, and 48.5 percent (16-of-33) from the free throw line.
· Freshman Marcus Foster scored a game-high 25 points vs. ORU, hitting on 9-of-12 field goals, including 4-of-5 from 3-point range. It was the most points by a freshman since Michael Beasley also scored 25 vs. Texas A&M in the Big 12 Championship quarterfinals on March 14, 2008. He is the first freshman with a 20-point game since Thomas Gipson in 2011.
· Foster and Wesley Iwundu became the first set of true freshmen to start a game since Angel Rodriguez and Thomas Gipson earned the nod vs. Syracuse in the NCAA East Regional on March 17, 2012.
· The four freshmen have accounted for 55 of the team’s 129 points, 18 of the 72 rebounds and 12 of the 32 assists in 141 minutes of action.
THE OPPONENT: LONG BEACH STATE (1-2)
· Long Beach State returns five lettermen, including two starters, from a team that posted a 19-14 overall and won the Big West regular season title with a 14-4 mark. The 49ers lost to UC Irvine, 67-60, in the Big West Championship game and received a bid to the NIT where they lost to eventual champion Baylor, 112-66, at the Ferrell Center in Waco, Texas.
· LBSU enters Sunday’s game with a 1-2 mark, opening the season with a 71-59 win over Hawaii Pacific on Nov. 9 before a 91-57 loss at No. 6 Arizona and a 74-73 setback at home to Loyola Marymount on Thursday. The 49ers are averaging 67 points on the season on 37 percent shooting, including 21.2 percent from 3-point range, while allowing 74.7 points on 45.6 percent shooting.
· All-Big West First Team performer Mike Caffey paces the team at 18.7 points per game on 44.2 percent shooting to go with 5.0 rebounds and 4.3 assists in 32.7 minutes per game. West Virginia transfer Dan Jennings is averaging a double-double with 14.7 points on 58.6 percent shooting and 12.0 rebounds in 28.7 minutes. Four others are averaging better than five points.
· Caffey had 23 points in the loss to Loyola Marymount, while Jennings posted 18 points and 11 rebounds.
· Head coach Dan Monson has a 275-216 record in his 17th season as a head coach, including a 105-93 mark in his seventh season at LBSU. The man who started Gonzaga’s terrific run (1997-99), including 28 wins and a trip to the Elite Eight in 1999, also has a stint at Minnesota (1999-2007). His teams have made 10 postseason appearances and posted five 20-win seasons.
BREAKING DOWN THE SERIES
· Sunday’s contest will mark the seventh meeting between K-State and Long Beach State and the first since the championship game of the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic on Dec. 25, 2011. Four of the six meetings have come since 1997.
· Long Beach State won the first meeting, 75-69, at home on Dec. 23, 1978 with head coach Tex Winter at the helm who also coached at K-State (1953-68). The Wildcats enacted revenge the next season with a 90-67 win over Winter’s 49ers on Jan. 2, 1980. K-State then won a home-and-home series in 1997 and 1998, posting a 89-50 win in Manhattan on Nov. 22, 1997 and a 90-77 victory on Dec. 12, 1998. LBSU won for the first time in Manhattan, 70-64, on Jan. 4, 2000. In the schools’ last meeting in the championship game of the Diamond Head Classic on Dec. 25, 2011, the Wildcats connected on 50 percent of their field goals en route to a 77-60 win. MVP Rodney McGruder scored a game-high 28 points on 10-of-11 field goals.
· Six players remain from the last meeting between K-State and Long Beach State on Dec. 25, 2011, including Wildcats’ Thomas Gipson, Shane Southwell, Will Spradling and Nino Williams and 49ers’ Mike Caffey and Nick Shepherd. Both Gipson and Spradling started the game with Southwell and Williams coming off the bench. Spradling scored 17 points on 4-of-7 field goals, including three treys, to go with a 6-of-7 effort from the free throw line, while Gipson had five points, seven rebounds and two assists in 18 minutes and Southwell three points and three rebounds. Caffey tallied eight points and nine rebounds.
· K-State is 13-3 all-time against Big West schools, including an 8-2 mark at home.
LONG BEACH STATE-KANSAS STATE CONNECTIONS
· The Long Beach State roster includes two players - Kris Gulley (Independence) and A.J. Spencer (Hutchinson) - who played basketball at community colleges in the state of Kansas. Spencer and K-State senior forward Ryan Schultz are friends after having played for Hutchinson Community College, where they helped the Blue Dragons to a 25-7 record in 2011-12.
· Head coach Bruce Weber and Don Monson have a long history together, having spent time together as head coaches in the Big Ten at Illinois and Minnesota. Weber is 5-0 all-time vs. Monson during their time together in the Big Ten from 2003-06.
· The schools share the legendary Tex Winter as a head coach, as the Hall of Famer spent 15 seasons at K-State (1953-68) and five seasons at Long Beach State (1978-83). He led the Wildcats to 281 victories, the 1964 Final Four and six Big Seven/Eight titles during his stint in Manhattan, while he posted a 78-69 mark in Long Beach which included a 22-win season in 1979-80.
ORAL ROBERTS POSTGAME NOTES
· K-State rebounded from its season-opening loss to post a 71-63 win over Oral Roberts on Wednesday. The Wildcats connected on 50 percent from the field, including 57.1 percent in the second half. The squad also won the rebounding battle, 32-30.
· After starting the game 1-of-9 from the field, the squad connected on 59.5 percent (22-of-37) the rest of the way.
· Freshman Marcus Foster led three Wildcats in double figures with a game-high 25 points... D.J. Johnson and Will Spradling also scored in double figures with 12 and 10 points, respectively. Johnson matched his career-high with 12 points (also scored 12 vs. Northern Colorado) and has scored in double figures in back-to-back games for the first time in his career.
· Three freshmen - Foster, Wesley Iwundu and Nigel Johnson - played better than 15 minutes each vs. Oral Roberts, accounting for 33 points, four rebounds and eight assists... Johnson matched Spradling’s team-high five assists in 23 minutes.
· The starting lineup consisted of Spradling, Foster, Iwundu, Johnson and senior Shane Southwell... It marked the first career start for Iwundu... Spradling has now started 68 of the last 70 games, while Southwell has earned the starting nod in 27 of the last 28 games... Spradling, Foster and Johnson have started each of the first two games.
· Freshman Wesley Iwundu became just the third Wildcat true freshman (since they became eligible in 1971-72) to post a double-double in his first career, joining Norris Coleman (1985) and Michael Beasley (2007). Iwundu was one of two players in double figures against Northern Colorado with team-highs in both points (14) and rebounds (10) in 20 minutes off the bench.
STILL IMPRESSIVE AT HOME
· The loss to Northern Colorado not only snapped the school’s 10-game winning streak in openers (dating back to 2003) and 19-game streak in home openers (dating back to 1993), it also snapped the Wildcats’ 47-game winning streak in non-conference games at Bramlage Coliseum, which dated back to an 80-77 overtime loss to No. 17 Oregon on Nov. 29, 2007. However, K-State is still impressive at home since the 2006-07 season, posting a 102-18 (.850) mark at Bramlage Coliseum, including a 43-15 mark vs. Big 12 opponents. The 102 wins are the fourth-most among Big 12 schools behind Kansas, Texas and Oklahoma State.
WEBER ANNOUNCES THE SIGNINGS OF HARRIS, HURT
· Head coach Bruce Weber announced the signing of Tre Harris (Edwardsville, Ill./Fishburne Military) and Stephen Hurt (Murfreesboro, Tenn./Northwest Florida State Junior College) on Nov. 13. A 6-foot-10, 275-pound forward, Hurt was the Atlantic Sun Freshman of the Year after averaging 11.5 points and 7.8 rebounds in 2012-13 before transferring to Northwest Florida. Harris is currently averaging 19.7 points on 57 percent shooting for the third-ranked Fishburne Military Prep in Waynesboro, Va.